Hazel Sims teaches the Diploma of Business Administration at RMIT. She talks about the importance of hands-on learning.
What’s the key to your teaching success?
It is important to create a social environment that supports learning and teaching. I understand that through social experience students are able to engage in complex activities.
I have a lot of experience teaching in the Simulated Business space at RMIT. Through this designated teaching space, students learn how to run an office and multi-task. The day flies by for the students who not only “get” what it’s like to work in a business but they learn by practicing their skills.
I show students how to plan. I help them to see how they can manage their time through prioritising. In this way, students develop their self-direction skills through time management, which empowers them to be better at what they do.
Being a competent practitioner means I have authenticity. At the heart of my authenticity is my aim, which is to be a helpful and kind teacher and one who is technically proficient.
What are some of the challenges involved in teaching your discipline and how do you overcome them?
Two resources that I draw on to overcome challenges in my teaching practice are the reliance on my well-developed competencies and good listening skills.
I like to teach skills that help students to be critical thinkers. This helps me to teach the discipline of business administration because students can reflect on their actions, make choices and be decisive. It also adds to the enjoyment of the learning environment.
What’s the best thing about teaching at RMIT?
RMIT has provided me with many opportunities for professional development. These include event management courses in Sydney and London along with a Records Management course at the National Archives of Australia. I have also participated in a number of conferences run by the Australian Institute of Office Professionals. These opportunities have helped my proficiency and in turn I am able to give back to the RMIT community.
RMIT has a longstanding relationship with Formfile – why is this partnership important?
Formfile joined the Business Administration program many years ago. This partnership has enabled RMIT to support students by showing them the best industry practice for the records management discipline. Formfile has offered our students Work Integrated Learning placements and has continued to support our program by acting as a business partner and mentor for our Simulated Business.
In 2017 you set up the Formfile Digital Office project; can you explain how this works?
The digital office project is an exciting concept for the students, because it is a dynamic way in which they can be assessed for competence at a current industry standard. There are five key stakeholders, RMIT, Formfile, ELO Enterprise 9 software, Kodak, and our Simulated Business.
We’ve developed a project administration approach to student learning in the digital office. How this works is that students design an administration system in consultation with Formfile, who provide best practice modelling and consultation. Formfile hosts the ELO platform on the “cloud”. Kodak equipment is used to scan documents.
Students upload their designs for their various administration systems to ELO. Handling paper based and electronic documents gives the students a dynamic experience and a real understanding of what to expect when they graduate and work in industry. Formfile will remain a valued business mentor by providing feedback and guidance for the next iteration.
The next phase of the digital office experience is a Work Integrated Learning project which will form part of the Diploma of Business Administration program. Students will work on a project brief from the Public Records of Victoria which involves digital archiving.